Mercedes-Benz and Audi Pull Ahead of BMW


Aside from these three automobile manufacturing companies designing and building fast cars, BMW, Mercedes, and Audi also make up a significant portion of the luxury car market. Luxury cars are regarded as the highest quality of mass produced automobiles and thus can be identified as product-based. These companies consider quality to be one of their highest principles as evidenced by BMW’s slogan “The ultimate driving machine.” They care about every measurable detail and the best way to ensure their customers superior quality. These companies have been able to maintain their reputation as the top manufacturers and have been in a fierce competition for the luxury car market share.  

The luxury automobile market has expanded in recent years due to increased demand around the globe, but specifically the Chinese market. This has spurred success for luxury cars and has created a desire for more products. These companies therefore have the responsibility of taking action to fulfill the demand and seize the chance to increase growth and profits. BMW is the largest producer of luxury cars currently, however in the third quarter of this year, BMW did not meet the sales growth of its German counterparts. While BMW’s deliveries rose 5.8% from last quarter, Audi saw a 7.2% increase and Mercedes saw a 9%.

After thinking about the importance of quality with the models of these three companies coupled with their contest for the luxury car market, specifically in China. I was curious as to whether or not any of these three companies were concerned with the any of the quality awards or in accordance with certain certifications that were discussed during last week’s online session. After further investigation, I found that BMW is the only one of the three that maintains all the quality management systems at their production facilities in accordance with the standards of the ISO 9000. This helped me understand why BMW is the largest producer of vehicles averaging more than 80,000 more vehicles than its competitors this past quarter. As we discussed, two of the standards of the International Organization for Standardization are to enhance quality and reliability at a reasonable price and increase distribution efficiency and ease of maintenance. These qualities may be the reason why BMW may maintain its position despite outside factors like “Audi push(ing) ahead with a program to invest 22 billion euros ($27.5 billion) by 2018 and Mercedes expand(ing) with vehicles like the upcoming M-Class coupe.” Due to their ability to fulfill their customers needs and maintain and high functioning quality management system, I think they may be able to preserve their position as the biggest manufacturer.P90068813

This article also made me think about my work within the construction industry and how buildings are inspected to ensure that the quality is up to the standards of the building code. However, there are certain certifications like LEED, which means the building conforms to detailed guidelines and is an exemplary example of a sustainable and energy efficient building. These structures are known for their quality and ability to lower costs, undercut minimum codes, and provide for further sustainability. Whether it is a quality management standards or a certain certification excellence in class always seems to it manifest itself differently in varied industries.


1)   Do you think that BMW should be worried about Mercedes-Benz and Audi overtaking them as the biggest manufacturer?

2)   Is it worthwhile for Mercedes-Benz and Audi to work towards quality management so that they satisfy the standards of a program like ISO 9000?

3)   Do you have any experiences with an award for quality in your line of work that shows that recognized products are indeed exemplary? Or maybe not?



8 thoughts on “Mercedes-Benz and Audi Pull Ahead of BMW

  1. I think BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi are and will continue to be competitive companies. They might change their roles on being the biggest, second biggest and third biggest, but each company’s mission statement seems strong enough to stay in a competitive place. Maybe Mercedes-Benz and Audi find it worth the hassle to work towards quality management standards like ISO 9000 but since they are so successful without such certificates, I am not sure if the benefits will outweigh the costs.

  2. I enjoyed reading about the different strategies of these three automobile manufacturers because they often are grouped as one because of the similarities of luxury products. When my family was determining which car to buy, we did take into consideration the quality of each luxury car; ultimately, we got a BMW. After reading this, I wondered if the ISO 9000 certification translating into a better product indirectly contributed to our decision. If Mercedes and Audi are taking over as top manufacturers, I’m not sure it would be worthwhile to invest in higher quality management since consumers already value their products highly. I’d still expect all three manufacturers to continue being profitable companies in the future.

  3. I really enjoyed your post! I like the discussion of BMW being the only company to be ISO 9000 certified. That was interesting to learn, because I would of assumed that all high-end car manufacturers would want every aspect of their production-line to be the highest of standards. Even though Audi and Mercedes-Benz had a higher percentage increase I don’t think BMW has anything to worry about. I feel that BMW is ahead of the curve in many aspects but the competition will continue to grow with changing consumer demands.

  4. Hey I really enjoyed your article, I am a car enthusiast my self. I liked how you said , “I found that BMW is the only one of the three that maintains all the quality management systems at their production facilities in accordance with the standards of the ISO 9000”. This was very relevant to the past chapter we have learned in our operations management class, and also an interesting fact I did not know. In regards to your question 2, I would have to say that I do believe it is worthwhile for these two large luxury car companies to work towards the ISO 9000 standards like their competitor BMW did. This can be an important marketing tool they could possibly use to show off the quality management and standards they have been working towards. These quality standards give consumers like me some assurance that their product they are producing will work to its best possible standards.

  5. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW all being german made cars, are all high end cars no doubt, but being the leader to second and third place, I personally feel though Mercedes-Benz will always be the top dog, and BMW and Audi will be competing for that second place spot. I drive an Audi currently and I abosultyley love it, I have driven both BMW and Mercedes-Benz as well, but at the end of the day i think Audi has the most soothing ride for me, I enjoy the comfort as well as the speed and smooth turning. The marketing aspect of the three german made cars, they use “classy” scenes and they show its built with machines where heads towards the ISO 9000 standards. They really use Quality management and work towards that a lot. All an all I believe that no BMW is not loosing its value, but more they all have different set of consumers.

    -Jay Patel

  6. Interesting post. I think they should be worried about the other companies over taking them. Just like in any industry if you aren’t improving your products you end up becoming less popular. Audi and Mercedes keep innovating and changing their products while it seems like BMW has stayed the same. I’ve personally noticed the change on the street and the amount of BMW’s versus other luxury cars in their same class are in favor of all the other companies. I don’t know if joining quality standards programs will hep them I think it comes down to innovation and giving the customers what they want.

  7. This is a very interesting article. Personally I think that Mercedes is the best brand from all these three cars you mentioned, and BMW should make sure to continue the high standards as BMW and Audi (currently) have had trouble with their quality standard. But, I have never heard of Mercedes being recalled or etc. I didn’t know that only BMW had the required ISO 9000 certification but from the amounts given by you I can only assume that they didn’t necessarily to try too hard to be successful.

  8. I believe that the increase in sales could may be in result of the Chinese market’s interest to diversify and find uniqueness in their luxury vehicle choice. BMW is a highly regarded in terms of its quality of product and I would definitely see the ISO 9000 standard being a large contributor to the magnitude of that quality. Over time we may see the competitor increase level off once the quality of vehicle is more apparent as drivers become more aware of their choice.

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